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9 Mar 2017

Watch: A Day’s Work

Short film by Malaysian director Haris Mohd Nor explores the relationship between a man and his transgender sister

A Day’s Work directed by Haris Mohd Nor presents a young man who skips school to spend some time with his transgender sister. The drama and relationship comes to a boil when Faiz realises that Zana was going to flee the country, abandoning him to live with their father.

The scriptwriter explained a little more about the film in an interview.


Could you tell us a bit about yourself & your brother? Where are you from, and what do you guys do?

I am a scriptwriter based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the past six years. I write for both film and television. My brother (also A Day’s Work’s co-writer), Hadi Mohd Nor, is also a writer. He recently wrote a collection of short stories, novels, all in Malay.

We grew up in Ipoh, and started writing when we were in school, doing school plays and such.

Both of us started doing short films for a Malaysian TV  network three years ago, because it’s an opportunity to do more serious work — most of the films and TV shows I write are comedy, and so are Hadi’s novels

Could you tell us more about the inspiration behind the short film?

Before we wrote the script, we were inspired to make a story that runs in one day, and within that day, an experience for the audience delve into the character’s surroundings, his fear and his dreams, and the people around him.

Could you tell us more about the research behind developing Faiz’s character and his relationship with Zana?

We would like to think that Faiz and Zana’s relationship are almost the same as any other siblings. We believe that although one’s appearance is changed, but the person is still the same, and Faiz sees her as the person that he grew up with, his family. We wanted to higlight the sanctity of that bond between siblings.

A Day’s Work is a unique story for its context - set in Malaysia, and with a trans-person. For an audience who aren’t familiar with the context, could you tell us more about Zana and her relationship with her family?

We would hope that the audience would assume that Zana’s family are not accepting her anymore because of her decision to get a sex change operation, because in an Islamic background, it is forbidden to change to change your gender. However, the relationship between Zana and her brother, Faiz, is still the same

What else are you working on that we can look forward to?

At the moment, we are writing a Malay police procedural tv show. However, we are trying to get our own short film project started, despite our busy schedule. A Day's Work is like an experiment for us. We wanted to tell a story that is unconventional, yet realistic, with a Dogma 95-like approach. Hopefully, we could do the same for our next short film, but better, of course. We are working on a short film script about the obstacles faced by lovers to maintain their relationship.

Can we confirm that Faiz regards Zana as a brother? And what pronouns does Zana identify with?

Zana identifies herself as a female. She had a sex-change operation from being a male to female. But, Faiz regards her as family.

Watch the trailer below or the full movie here.

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